Andy Kirk

The Territories, Vol. 1

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This collector's LP traces the beginnings of Andy Kirk's Twelve Clouds of Joy. In addition to that big band's first recordings from 1929-30, there are also scarce titles from 1927 by Jeanette James' Synco Jazzers and John Williams. Williams, a baritonist and altoist, was the first husband of pianist Mary Lou Williams, who is heard on the early titles making her recording debut. While the James and Williams numbers are historically significant, it is the initial dates by Kirk's band (which have been reissued on CD) that are most enjoyable. Among the musicians featured on this interesting collection of vintage Kansas City jazz are Mary Lou and violinist Claude Williams.